Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The Insecure Writer's Support Group—we have over 300 members. You can find the list of participants Here and their blogs.

Have you ever watched dancers around a Maypole? Some of the dances are simple, some complex, some of the dancers are laughing and lighthearted, and others are dark, serious, and stately. Regardless of the style of dance or dancers a pattern emerges as with the ribbons as the dance goes on. Some of the steps taken give no clue as to the final pattern—they seem almost hit and miss—but they’re a work of beauty by the end.

See, dancing the Maypole is not just about the joy of the dance. Part of the motivation in dancing is in the creating of a complex pattern with the ribbons to wrap the pole. The final pattern woven stems from the movement and direction of each dancer. It looks effortless (and it’s supposed to) but the maypole is wrapped and unwrapped many, many times in practice to get the final combination of steps and corresponding end pattern.

The finished pattern on the maypole depends upon several things. The height of the maypole and those of the inner or minor dancers who dance their own patterns while interacting with the outer dancers, the pace and flow of the dancers, the texture of the ribbon material and the spacing of the colors. You may only catch glimpses of the inner circle’s dancers yet they’re all part of the dance. Sometimes the dancers have to reverse themselves a bit and then weave forward again. While dancing they may take the proper steps and yet they won’t know how successful they've been, with setting the pattern, until they’re finished and step back and look at their completed work. It soon becomes apparent when the pacing of the dance was off or someone forgot a step because it shows up in the finished pattern.

It’s similar to writing a story. We start out with all sorts of bright ideas. We have lots of ribbons available to weave our story. Now comes the dancing and weaving. We know the basic storyline—that’s our bare pole. We determine the height and breath of our story. Then are the minor characters and the major characters. Their personalities add texture and color to the story. The pacing, tension, and flow adds a different sort of feel to the overall story pattern—it could make the story light and bubbly or austere, dark and dangerous, or it could be the weaving of both. Sometimes we have to
reverse a bit and rearrange the steps and colors and then move forward again intermingling the ribbons for the finished pattern.

I have several ‘wrapped’ maypoles. I’m looking at the final patterns. Some are too bland in the color/texture choices. Nothing stands out and while the pattern is pretty it lacks that wow factor. I’m going to have to unwrap the pole and add some different ribbon textures and color to the weave of the story. Sometimes I get frustrated because while it started out fine and the dancing was fun when I step back and looked at the overall pattern it’s too jumbled. 

Smacks forehead...What was I thinking ?

And that’s about the time I’m ready to throw it the fire—or donate the damn pole to the highland games for some brawny Scot to use in the caber toss.